Aquaculture Innovation

Aquaculture Innovation and Food Security

Feeding the Future

aquaculture innovation

More than 50% of the seafood we eat comes from aquaculture, but less than 1% is produced in the United States. Global demand for seafood is expected to double over the next 40 years. From seaweed to fish, FAU Harbor Branch research has advanced aquaculture in Florida, the United States and internationally. Our work aims to provide the research and technological advances needed by aquaculture businesses, allowing them to prosper and increase the supply of nutritious, safe and high-quality domestic seafood.

From seaweed to fish, Florida Atlantic University (FAU) Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute has led the way in advancing aquaculture in Florida, the United States and internationally through one of the longest running programs in the world.

The activities at the FAU Harbor Branch Aquaculture Development Park are helping to meet one of the most significant long-term challenges that humans face: the need to increase aquaculture production to help satisfy an expected doubling in the global demand for food over the next 40 years.

FAU Harbor Branch believes in a future where people can responsibly farm seafood without sacrificing the health of marine ecosystems. To achieve this vision, our multi-institutional, multidisciplinary team includes fish culturists, nutrition researchers, developmental biologists, phycologists, microbiologists, physiologists, geneticists, mathematicians and engineers. With more than 40 years of research activity, FAU Harbor Branch scientists collaborate with academia, government, private sector, nonprofit institutions and foundations to feed the world and replenish depleted natural fish stocks.

It’s critically important that the U.S. gets good at developing aquaculture in the U.S., and we are going to help with that enormously at Harbor Branch. It’s a part of our strategic plan.”

Jim Sullivan, Ph.D.
FAU Harbor Branch
Executive Director


The Issue

From overfishing and pollution to warming seas, the oceans face an unprecedented level of threats. With declining wild fish stocks, a human population estimated to reach 10 billion by 2050 and an increasing demand for seafood, aquaculture is the world’s fastest growing food sector—and it’s only going to continue to increase. There has never been a more critical time to find solutions for food needs while preserving the world’s fisheries.

It's imperative that the U.S. increases aquaculture production for the well-being and food security of our citizens.

  • 50% of the seafood we eat comes from aquaculture
  • The U.S. has the 5th highest seafood consumption in the world
  • Seafood is an important and the primary source of protein for nearly 1 billon people
  • 1% of seafood is produced in the U.S.
  • This is leading to a trade deficit of $14.9 billion

aquaculture innovationFAU Harbor Branch Taking Action

FAU Harbor Branch scientists focus on the sustainable production of safe, high-quality domestic seafood, engineering and system design, as well as improving the health and nutritional value of farm-raised products. The strength of our research is in the diversity of our systems and the dozens of species we research for farming, which will ultimately help us protect the environment and support availability of affordable, nutrient-rich seafood to U.S. citizens.


Sustainable Design

To increase the efficiency of land-based design and reduce waste to the environment, we use eco-friendly freshwater and saltwater recirculation technology to supply and treat the water to our hatcheries, nurseries, grow-out areas, biosecure buildings, laboratories and classrooms. We’re developing innovative and novel feeds to produce healthier, more robust livestock, with increased yields, which reduces the environmental costs of aquaculture.

Food Security

To produce more aquaculture products in the U.S. and secure future food needs, FAU Harbor Branch has partnered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) in a one-of-a-kind collaboration to focus on research benefiting the domestic aquaculture of warm water marine fish, with an initial focus on highly valued species, including Florida pompano, red drum and amberjacks.

Restore and Replenish

In addition to growing fish for consumption, FAU Harbor Branch aims to protect and conserve the ocean by researching the biology and ecology of important marine life such as bonefish, seagrass, red drum and queen conch that support healthy ecosystems and bolster local economies.

Our Outcomes

  • Lessen aquaculture’s impact on the environment by developing sustainable designs that reduce waste while maintaining commercial efficiencies
  • Increase the nutrition, health and yield of livestock through novel feeds
  • Secure food for the future by developing aquaculture of domestic species
  • Support conservation efforts and local communities by increasing our knowledge on the biology of and ecology of important recreational and commercial fisheries

This program uses innovative, outside-the-box thinking to advance modern aquaculture and conservation research, which is essential as the human population continues to grow and put even more pressure on limited marine resources.”

Adams Aaron, Ph.D.
FAU Harbor Branch
Senior Scientist

How You Can Help

With your help, we can tackle one of the most pressing problems for our future — developing sustainable aquaculture production in the U.S. With your support, we can further our research efforts to advance our knowledge and understanding of aquaculture to feed the U.S. and the world without sacrificing the well-being of our marine environments.

Why Give Today?

Florida Atlantic University (FAU) Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute is rapidly evolving. Now is the time to expand our impact through private philanthropic support. The Institute is increasing its funding to core programs that will make a significant and timely impact on critical ocean issues in Florida and beyond. FAU Harbor Branch has strong partnerships with government officials, the Department of Defense and leading research institutions around the world. These key connections and partnerships ensure that we inform decision makers about science and how to ultimately mitigate impacts to the ocean and coastal environment.

Make a Gift Today!

FAU Harbor Branch aquaculture is on the forefront of aquaculture development in the U.S., and we think the world as well. And we’re going to continue to be in that space in the future.”

Paul Wills, Ph.D.
FAU Harbor Branch
Research Professor, Associate
Director for Research

HBOI ocean fish